The pre-cast concrete kerbs that will replace the iron railings from Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)
Call it mortal intervention for a divine cause.
Anticipating the crushing crowd on Jaiprakash Narayan Setu — Mango bridge for Jamshedpur residents — during Durga Puja and the string of festivities that follow, the city’s civic utility monitor Jusco has decided to replace damaged and rusted iron railings acting as lane divider with a row of pre-cast concrete kerbs.
This Rs 16-lakh solid spine of the 800-metre-long bridge will not just ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians, it will also enhance the beauty of the city’s gateway from NH-33 that is hitherto marred by jagged and jutting iron rods.
The concrete kerbs are already being stocked along the bridge, the arterial link between densely populated Mango and the heart of the city. Officials at the Tata Steel subsidiary said installation work would commence from Wednesday and would be completed before Maha Shasthi.
In April, The Telegraph had highlighted how the iron railings — installed by Jusco in November 2011 at the request of East Singhbhum traffic police — had been exposed to wear and tear and the metal offshoots were posing serious threat to more than 1,50,000 vehicles that cross the bridge every day.
Not exactly an express response, but Jusco has woken up to the need to buffer the peril and won a pat from DSP (traffic) R.M. Sinha.
“I had personally approached senior officials of Jusco several times, reminding them of the urgency to replace those dangerous railings. Let alone jutting out iron rods, missing stretches of the divider had defeating the sole purpose of double-laning the bridge. Bikers crossed from one flank to another, violating traffic rules and augmenting chances of accidents. Finally, something concrete will happen to cushion the risk,” Sinha said.
The traffic police have also requested Jusco to raise the height of the divider from 1.5ft to at least 3ft to prevent pedestrians from dodging traffic and crossing lanes. “It is difficult to keep tabs on each and every disobedient pedestrian and jaywalker. A raised divider will automatically curb the rate of risk,” the DSP said, adding that the civic utility firm had agreed to help.
Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan said that unlike iron railings, the pre-cast concrete kerbs were durable and the estimated cost of the project was Rs 16 lakh.
“We have used these on the Sakchi-Kalimati Road. They have already lasted four years. The new divider will have two facing rows of these concrete slabs, each approximately 3ft high, while a grass carpet will be grown in between. Work will be completed before Durga Puja so that revellers have a safe celebration,” he added.